6 Horses That Could Win the 2022 Triple Crown
There are countless unknowns bearing down on the outcomes necessary for a single horse to win all three of the Triple Crown races—the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. For one thing, each of those crown jewels presents different challenges.
Pimlico’s Preakness Stakes is the shortest of the three races at 9.5 furlongs (1-3/16 miles). The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs is slightly longer at ten furlongs (1-1/4 miles). The Belmont Stakes in New York is the longest haul, weighing in at a grueling 12 furlongs (1-1/2 miles).
Those differing lengths offer advantages to different types of runners. Horses that excel at the shorter routes may run out of gas in the Belmont Stakes’ home stretch.
You can watch the latest 2022 Triple Crown odds and prop bets at one of our top horse betting sites.
Latest Odds for a 2022 Triple Crown Winner
The bottleneck in the path to the Triple Crown is obviously the first race—traditionally, the Kentucky Derby. As many as 20 horses will vie for that win, but only the one that crosses this particular finish line first has the potential to win the Triple Crown.
Here are ten of the top horses on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, as well as the odds of each winning the first jewel of the crown at Churchill Downs on May 7, 2022.
Until recently, *Messier was trained by Bob Baffert, who has been banned from Churchill Downs for two years and cannot race a horse there until 2025.
However, Messier has been moved to the care of California trainer Tim Yakteen.
Past Triple Crown Winners
Since the inaugural running of the third jewel in the crown, the Kentucky Derby, in 1875, there have been only 13 horses to win all three races.
While the three weren’t even called “The Triple Crown” until the mid-1920s, the Triple Crown Trophy (created in 1950) has been awarded to all horses that have won all three races, retroactive to 1919.
- Sir Barton (1919)
- Gallant Fox (1930)
- Omaha (1935)
- War Admiral (1937)
- Whirlaway (1941)
- Count Fleet (1943)
- Assault (1946)
- Citation (1948)
- Secretariat (1973)
- Seattle Slew (1977)
- Affirmed (1978)
- American Pharoah (2015)
- Justify (2018)
You’ll note that the ‘40s appear to have been a particularly favorable time for triple crown winners, with four between 1941 and 1948. And the ‘70s were likewise blessed with three Triple Crown winners.
And on the flip side, for the first 35 years of the existence of the three races, no horse managed to see the winner’s circle at all three races. There’s that 25-year drought between 1948 and 1973. And, of course, the 37 years between Affirmed (1978) and American Pharoah (2015).
Fun Fact – since 1875, only 23 horses have won the first two jewels in the Triple Crown.
Can we garner any information from history to help us make our wagering decisions in 2022? No. We already know how difficult it is to win the Triple Crown. Let’s not add unpredictable variance into an already complicated equation.
Triple Crown 2022 Contenders Worth Betting On
At the time of this writing, BetUS current prop wagers on any horse winning the 2022 Triple Crown are a predictable 90% “No” with “Yes” at 13% (-1000=No, +650=Yes). Still, considering the rarity of Triple Crown wins, I will view those odds as somewhat optimistic.
Let’s take a quick look at my shortlist of the best bets to win the 2022 Triple Crown.
At the time of this writing, Epicenter is the #1 contender on the Road to the Kentucky leaderboard. Except for his sixth-place finish in his first maiden attempt back in September, Epicenter has won four of his five other races, including the Louisiana Derby (Grade II) and the Risen Star Stakes (Grade II).
His single miss was a second-place finish in the Lecomte Stakes (Grade III), which still bumped up his R2KD leaderboard score a few points. Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen trains epicenter.
Tiz the Bomb
I like Tiz the Bomb, and that’s not just because he performed as I predicted and won the Jeff Ruby Steaks Stakes (Grade III) in early April.
He’s #3 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, and he’s proven himself a winner at the stakes level, despite that seventh-place finish in the Holy Bull Stakes (Grade III) in February.
Trained by Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup veteran Kenneth G. McPeek, Tiz the Bomb has the skill and the connections to succeed.
Trained by Saffie A. Joseph, Jr., White Abarrio had but 12 R2KD points on the leaderboard until early April, when he outran a fistful of other KD contenders in the Florida Derby, boosting his leaderboard score to 112 and positioning him just under Epicenter at #2.
In late March, this Japanese export put himself firmly on the R2KD leaderboard with his win in the UAE Derby. He was one of the 15/1 longshots at the starting gate, while Bob Baffert’s Pinehurst was the 7/2 favorite.
That single win was enough to catapult Crown Pride up among the top five R2KD contenders, virtually guaranteeing him a post position at the 2022 Kentucky Derby.
One of the biggest wild cards in this year’s battle to Run for the Roses is a dark bay gelding from New York: Un Ojo.
In February, he picked up four R2KD leaderboard points with a second-place finish in the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct. He added 50 more points with a first in the Rebel Stakes just a couple of weeks later. Incidentally, he was a 75/1 long shot in that race. A two-dollar bet on him paid $152.80.
He entered the starting gate for the Arkansas Derby in early April with a bit more respect—his odds were 18/1.
Unfortunately, Un Ojo finished the Arkansas Derby in eighth place, besting only Chasing Time, a Steve-Asmussen colt not expected by punters to do any better. Un Ojo’s trainer, Ricky Courville, blamed the poor performance on the rough-and-tumble nature of the race.
Just as much of a wild card as Un Ojo—but for very different reasons—is Messier, the Canadian-born bay colt formerly known as a Bob Baffert-trained horse.
Messier was not allowed to acquire KD leaderboard points as a Baffert-trained horse. But suppose all goes well with the shift to his new trainer.
In that case, he could be retroactively awarded four points for his second-place finish in the Los Alamitos Futurity (Grade II) back in December and ten more for his winning performance in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (Grade III) at Santa Anita in February.
At the time of this writing, Yakteen was reportedly working on preparing Messier for the Santa Anita Derby, which promises 100 KD leaderboard points to the winner.
If he were to win (and acquire R2KD points), Messier would be in the top five thoroughbreds on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
Betting on a Triple Crown Winner in 2022
If I had to make one Triple Crown prediction, I’d have to go with Tiz the Bomb, mostly because he’s fought some of the toughest battles in horse racing to get to this point.
I look back on the history of the Triple Crown and remind myself that those 13 Triple Crown winners were all titans of racing in their day. And frankly, I don’t see any titans among the possibles this year. Still, as the man said: “You never know.” Upsets happen. Just ask Un Ojo.
Betting on the Triple Crown futures is fun and educational. Be sure to track the action as it develops.